“Vile abuse” and death threats to family after Tongan-UK game drive referee to retire

    Fakafisi fakamaau 'akapulu liiki ne mamahi lahi ai e kau poupou Tonga' he'ene fakamaau'i e tau 'a e Mate Ma'a Tonga' he ipu 'a māmani ne fai 'i Nu'u Sila he 2017. Na'a' ne pehē ne fakamanavahē hono fakananamana'i ia mo hono fāmili hili 'e ne fai ha tu'utu'uni ne tui e kau poupou Tonga' ne tonu ke ikuna ai e tau' ni 'e he Mate Ma'a Tonga' ka ne 'ikai. Na'e hili pe tau ko 'eni' ne fetu'utaki e kau polisi' ki ai ke nofo ma'u 'i he hōtele ne nofo ai'.

    The referee who disallowed Tonga’s last minute try in their game against England last year has announced his retirement.

    Matt Cecchin told the BBC he had been the target of “vile abuse” and had received “hundreds and hundreds” of death threats.

    As Kaniva News reported last year, Cecchin disallowed a last minute try by Andrew Fifita which would have given Tonga victory and secured their place in the Rugby League World Cup final against Australia.

    He ruled that Fifita had lost the ball before regathering and planting it over the try line.

    Cecchin’s ruling  caused widespread outrage among Tongan fans and a call by a Tongan lawyer for the decision to be reversed.

    The referee said New Zealand Police warned him to stay in his hotel after the game.

    Cecchin said he would retire at the end of the year because the intense public criticism was affecting his home life.

    Members of his family  had received death threats.

    The referee told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation his Sydney home, his son’s home in Adelaide and his mother’s in Perth were all placed on high alert after the semi-final between Tonga and England last year.

    “It surprised me … the magnitude and the disproportionate response I got from making a call at the end of the game that thankfully was right — I often sit back and wonder ‘wow what if that was wrong?'” he said.

    Cecchin, who has judged 300 games, said top referees were under immense psychological pressure and did not have the support players did.

    He said the pressure and public backlash could take a huge toll.

    “As a group we are focused so much on our physical attributes and knowing the rules — we have done very little with mental health,” he told the ABC.

     For more information

    Rugby League World Cup organisers won’t reverse Tonga’s semifinal loss to England

    Matt Cecchin says death threats after an NRL World Cup game are the end of the line for him

    Matt Cecchin: NRL referee quits over ‘vile abuse and death threats’


    1. Mate Maa Tonga won the game but THE TONGAN FANS WERE THE BIGGEST LOSERS. What a shame!This is sports and I beg the Tonga fans to stop this stupid behavior of threatening the ref, I just cant figure out what people get from treating the poor ref like this. Kou kole atu kia kinautolu oku nau fai ae ulungaanga kovi koeni ke tuku he oku ikai fenapasi mohono tauhi hotau va moe ngaahi fonuamuli. Koe kau vainga ena oe MMT kuo nau kolenga mai tuku a e mamahi katau sio atu a kimu’a, pea koe lea tonu ia a Konrad Hurrell, koe akonaki ia a Hurrell ihe laumalie totonu oe sipoti pea oku toe fakalotu mo fakalaumalie foki. MALO KONI E FAKAMAAMA KIHE KAKAI LOTO TANGIA PEHE.

    2. Not only should Matt Cecchin retire but he should be tried and put in jail for rigging the game against Tonga. He didn’t even go to the video ref for the most important try of Rugby history. He is a liar and a spineless thief……
      I am very proud of the Tongan people and there peaceful ways. If Matt tried that on any other country he would be dead by now….


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